Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney delivered perhaps her most passionate state of the county address to date last night, outlining her administration’s accomplishments while also addressing the community’s significant challenges.  Perhaps the biggest surprise came when she announced Syracuse’s Say Yes college tuition fund would be permanently endowed.

Jeddy Johnson / WAER News

Syracuse-area minority entrepreneurs often face additional barriers in the business world that can discourage them right at the start.  In our final installation celebrating Black History Month, we hear from one motivated business owner who is actually enjoying some success thanks to a program that breaks down barriers.

A Liverpool man decided it was time to launch his own business when he was laid off from his high-paying job at New Process Gear after 14 years.

Excellus BCBS

  The percentage of people without health insurance in upstate New York is less than half the national average.  Information from Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield suggests employers and Obama-care are helping keep the region healthier.  Excellus Regional President Jim Reed says many not-for-profit insurers and a higher percentage of plans through people’s workplaces are key.

Arise Facebook Page

 Leadership at ARISE, a nonprofit Independent Living Center run by and for people with disabilities, is in transition as executive director Tom McKeown prepares to retire after 14 years at the helm. 

Philip Cohen / Wikimedia Commons

  The Public Service Commission (PSC) has nixed a plan that would have extended the life of a Cayuga County coal-fired power plant. In 2012, the owners of the Cayuga Power Plant, Upstate New York Power Producers, Inc, told the state it wasn’t economically viable to run and they wanted to close it. But, concerned about the reliability of the electric grid, the PSC ordered them to submit a plan to add the capacity to burn natural gas as well as coal.

smtcmpo.org

Syracuse-Area residents  are getting a first look at a study examining the possibility of bus rapid transit or light rail transit along two pre-determined corridors through the city.  Transportation officials say it’s an early step in a long process to improve public transit in areas that use it the most.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Most Central New Yorkers know about the Jerry Rescue, where a group of Syracuse abolitionists freed  fugitive slave William "Jerry" Henry from jail and snuck him to Canada.  But chances are most don’t know the story behind Enoch Reed, one of the men who helped rescue Jerry in 1851.

Onondaga Historical Association Curator of History Dennis Connors says to understand the significance of the Jerry Rescue is to understand that those involved were committing a serious act of civil disobedience.

Jeddy Johnson / WAER News

LeMoyne college graduate students are studying to be occupational therapists in a location that puts them in the middle of the action.  Officials cut the ribbon and blessed the newly renovated 10,000 square foot classroom and lab space today in Hanover Square. 

   Professor and Chair of LeMoyne’s occupational therapy program Ivelisse Lazzarini says the location for the new program is essentially a living laboratory.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Nearly two-dozen members of various community groups gathered Thursday in front of the Inner Harbor Hotel to call on the developer and the county to hire local residents. The protesters say the $44 million in tax breaks given to COR Development do not provide enough community benefits.  

  Urban Jobs Task Force President Aggie Lane says it’s important that the project does not deny people the opportunity to have a good quality of life.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A Syracuse University scholar in the area of civil unrest among African Americans sees some similarities…and differences in protests from the civil rights era to the present.  In this next installment celebrating black history month, WAER News looks at the issues that lead to unrest, and if they’re being addressed.

Pages